Fall is coming to an end in Portland, and the temperatures have started decreasing. As mornings get colder, we turn to those hot drinks that always bring a little extra energy boost to start the day. Of course, among those are espresso-based drinks. There’s nothing that goes better with that delicious beverage than a nice book, but depending on what you are drinking, you might want to try different types of literature. Here are some recommendations about what to read while drinking your favorite espresso-based drink.
Espresso: this is the center of it all, served in a small cup with a single or double shot depending on your preference. This brief drink has a strong, deep flavor that varies depending on the type of bean that is used. Due to its size and preparation, it is not meant to be finished over a long conversation or over the course of an entire class—it usually won’t last more than a couple of sips. When drinking espresso, remember to pair it with the appropriate book. Consider a short story compilation like The Fox’s Tower and Other Tales by Yoon Ha Lee, a collection of fantasy short stories with LGBTQ+ characters and themes that is easy to pick up and put down at the same time as your cup. If you are looking for something even shorter and enjoy humorous books with a graphic aspect, be sure to pick up The Princess and the Prick. This collection features a humorous feminist critique of “classic” fairytales and their tropes that are specifically aimed at the adults that grew up with them.
Latte: this is the result of mixing a double shot of espresso with a cup of steamed milk. The result is a warm, soft, slightly foamy beverage that is perfect to drink over a longer read. A graphic novel can be a good option for such an occasion. If you like them, you should consider The Awakening Storm: A Graphic Novel by Jaimal Yogis and Vivian Truong, the story of a young girl who moves to Hong Kong and ends up taking care of a newborn dragon. If you prefer nonfiction, you should read The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui, an illustrated memoir of a Vietnamese family who moved to the U.S. because of the war. The protagonist has to dig into their memories and those of their relatives in order to reconcile their past with their present.
Mocha: this variety adds a third ingredient to the previous iteration, and it is quite delicious. You get a mocha by mixing a double shot of espresso and dark chocolate (which can come in different forms) with a cup of steamed milk. How sweet it will be depends on the type of chocolate that is used. The result is a rich drink that is perfect for cold, rainy afternoons in which books and coffee complete a perfect triangle. You’ll want to pair this with fiction books, especially long ones, as this is not a drink you’ll likely drink fast because of its richness and temperature. A good book if you enjoy fantasy is The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon, an epic novel in which you will follow the perspective of four different people as a battle between light and dark brews. It is especially recommendable if you are looking for LGBTQ+ characters in a fantasy setting. You can also try a sweeter, more surprising narrative to go with the deep mocha flavor, both characteristics that you can find in One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston. The story of two girls meeting, one of which is displaced in time, will engage you from the beginning. It’s a tender rom-com that will surely add another pinch of sweetness to your drink.